We’re facing the end of cheap, easily obtained oil. This is classic peak oil theory: first, we take the easier to get stuff. Next, we’re left with the increasingly hard-to-get matter, which ramps up costs and builds scarcity.
So says not a peak oil blog, nor an environmentalist, but the Wall Street Journal.
That the Saudis are even considering such a project shows how difficult and costly it is becoming to slake the world’s thirst for oil. It also suggests that even the Saudis may not be able to boost production quickly in the future if demand rises unexpectedly. Neither issue bodes well for the return of cheap oil over the long term.
“The easy oil is coming to an end,” says Alex Munton, a Middle East analyst for the Scottish energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. The major oil fields in the Gulf region, he says, have pumped more than half their oil—the point at which production traditionally begins to decline. [emhases added]
The article doesn’t even try to offer the usual anti-peak arguments: that the tech needed to get this oil will become cheaper and effective very quickly, that there are vast pools of not-too-hard-to-get oil just waiting to be discovered.
(graph from Wikipedia)